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How To Formulate Homebrewing Beer Recipes With Percentages


This week I discuss in detail why I like to think of my grain bill in percentages rather than straight pounds and ounces. One of the most over looked aspect of communicating recipes back and forth is the omission of efficiency in your system. We are even guilty of not communicating effectively what the mash efficiency was for a given recipe. When you attempt to repeat a recipe your gravity might be way off or way above depending on those differences.
Talking about a recipe in percentages transcends that issue because the percentages maintain their scale in most cases.
A second reason for understanding your grain bill in terms of percent, I demonstrate an easy way to formulate a complete grain bill without the assistance of software like Beersmith or BrewCypher or BeerPal. Sometimes its just quicker to throw a recipe together on a piece of scrap paper.

So bear with the math in this episode. Leave a comment if you have questions. Or lets us know if you just think that I (Mike) am just crazy.


In case you wanted to work with points per pound per gallon, go here:

Working with PPG and Specific Gravity

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  1. What do you think about washing yeast and reusing it? Do you think it has worse performance even with a proper starter? Id love for you guys to tackle yeast strands in a new series.

  2. Nicholas Hendrickson

    Hey John and Mike,
    Just curious, but do you measure entirely in percentages? I know mine, but I brew 2G batches so I’ve just become accustomed to operating off oz and lb.

  3. When somebody asks me for my grain bill in pounds, I tell them it's irrelevant unless they're planning on brewing it on my system. Also, Mike needs a few more green lights. Way too many empty taps back there! Cheers, guys!

  4. Thanks for doing the video … nice 👍 ska glass too

  5. awesome, 10lbs = 4.5Kgs :D, 5 Gallons UK = 22 litres UK or 5 Gallons US=19litres UK

  6. Basingstoke Dave

    what a body good video and so mind opening for peoples who are getting started .. wel done boys makes it simple to understand

  7. Totally agree about reliance on software. I'm still newish to home brew and tried first cream ale after your vids. Software predicting final gravity of 1.011 but reached 1.006 . On reflection and after google, i had an 80 min mash at 150f with thin mash so should have expected very fermentable wort. Seems software did not factor in mash conditions, only yeast (I assume). What I took away was I needed more practice and understanding.

  8. Juan Ignacio Jiménez Alonso

    Hi Dudes! Think Mike and all in Argentina are crazy. We always take percentages for grain mix. And hops for X ibus or grams (2~APA, 3+ for IPA, etc) per litres of wort for whirpool.
    Excellent channel! Cheers!

  9. Mostly Michigan Beer Review

    Math! It's good!

  10. I always use percentages. Still using Promash too. Lbs. for grains and grams for hops.

  11. I'm not a fan of the European Union but when the UK joined we adopted the metric system. Much easier and logical. Also I would say that IBUs don't really calculate bitterness with large post boil additions in my experience.

  12. Well… I’m gonna need to watch this over and over and over and over and…..

  13. My batches are 6.5 gal as well.

  14. What about when you scale up? To the 80-90 gallons. I use beer Smith, so it’s taking away the math work for me. I am trying to learn the math to scale up. Sorry if I sound like noob

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